Osprey Adopt-A-Nest Program

The Osprey Adopt-A-Nest program is a community science program to utilize interested volunteers to monitor osprey nests throughout all of Michigan and to track the reproductive success of nesting pairs.

2024 Monitoring Season Has Begun!

The Osprey Nest Survey Form is already collecting some great data. Nest codes are no longer needed. Feel free to enter them if you know them from previous years. If you find a new nest you can enter details and leave the nest code field blank.

Osprey Program Results

screenshot of a StoryMap

Check out what this program has accomplished and learn more about Osprey! Many of the photos shared throughout the StoryMap were taken by volunteers. We would like to thank all Adopt-A-Nest volunteers for contributing to the success of the program and sharing their passion for Osprey conservation.

View the StoryMap


Volunteer to Do a Survey

The best months to observe osprey nesting are spring through late summer. In southern Michigan May-July are the most active period and in Northern Michigan June- August. The osprey fledge in late summer and migrate south in the fall. The adults usually return to the same nesting site each year.

We recommend that volunteers visit the nest 3 times throughout the summer months. You can then report your observations online using the Osprey Nest Survey link below. We want you to report on nests that are successful in raising chicks and if possible, count the number of chicks that fledge the nest.

Most monitoring sessions should be able to be completed in 30 minutes or less and observations should be able to be made with a pair of binoculars, though a spotting scope is helpful for monitoring cell tower nests. It is important to visit a nest more than once to determine if it is active or not active.

Once you have visited a nest site a minimum of two times and several weeks apart during the summer time frame and see no activity you can assume this nest is no longer active.

Reporting Instructions

The link below will allow you to report your osprey nest sightings using your home computer or by using a phone or tablet. Submissions are collected using the ArcGIS Survey 123 app.

Please note if your nest is reported while out in the field, your GPS location will automatically be captured.

If you are using the link from your home computer, it is important to adjust your location in the map to show the correct nest location and enter the nest code and nest name you were provided.

Osprey Nest Survey Form

QR code for accessing the Osprey Nest Survey Form

Scan for the
Osprey Nest Survey Form

  • To begin, go to the Osprey Nest Survey web page, or scan the QR code with your mobile device where a web browser will open.
  • For the web version, select "Open in browser". For the app version, select "Open in the Survey123 field app". If you haven’t downloaded the app to your device or computer yet click the download button and follow the prompts. Once downloaded, follow the same link again and select "Open in the Survey123 field app" to automatically open the form in the app.
  • You do not need to create an ArcGIS Online account to enter or submit data using the app. When opening the app select "Continue without signing in".
  • Both versions of the form are accessible on any device. The app version is ideal for mapping observations in the field, web version for mapping observations out of the field.

More information about the Survey123 App

  • The app will use your devices' locational services to map your location, but data service is not necessary when collecting data in the field. You will need to connect to WiFi or use the data connection on your device in order to send data from the app to the Osprey Adopt-a-Nest Program.
  • App users can save drafts and revisit forms before submitting to the central program.
  • In addition, sent surveys are saved on the device in a separate folder to review as well.

Getting Started

If you would like to monitor a nest in your area, please contact MNFI at mnfi@msu.edu and provide the county you wish to observe.

If you have questions about data collection or the Osprey Nest Survey Form, please contact Rebecca Rogers or Courtney Ross at mnfi@msu.edu.

Thank you for supporting osprey conservation!

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